Hayes Carll | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN | jeremy-zim.com

All that sat on the stool next to him was a harmonica, a bottle of water, and a glass of whiskey. That pretty much sums up the set that the Texas-born and Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Hayes Carll brought to the PRX Stage tonight.

His introduction was set by WFPK in Kentucky’s Kyle Meredith, who said that he was shocked when he heard that Carll’s new album would be made up of mostly ballads, since his previous work had mainly been country stompers. But just like Meredith said, Carll’s stripped-down set of songs from Lovers and Leavers brought simple yet thoughtful melodies, intrinsic beauty, and one of the most unorthodox drum kits I have ever seen.

Hayes Carll – NONCOMM 2016

Carll’s unmatched storytelling was out-shown by nearly everything, with the minor exception of his love for musical history. He performed the Lovers and Leavers track “Sake of the Song,” before which he admitted that he stole the title from a song by Townes Van Zant. “People in certain circles would have disowned me for doing that,” said Carll. “I don’t think Townes hung in those kind of circles.” He also dedicated the song to the recently deceased Guy Clark.

With harmonies that flowed like water and a pedal steel guitar that punched like whiskey, Hayes Carll lifted up the audience at NonCOMM with his folk storytelling, his acoustic guitar, and his harmonica.

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Love That we Need
Sake of the Song
Love is So Easy
Drunken Poet’s Dream
Good While It Lasted
The Magic Kid